A cookbook for all seasons
A quick guide to the ideas behind Simply in Season
For the purposes of this cookbook, seasons are defined as garden seasons. As such each season comes at a different calendar time depending on the location.
All Seasons: Staple foods for all year round (whole grains, dried beans, dried fruits, dairy, meats, alternative proteins)
Most foods are available in any geographical area. However, some foods are very specific to a geographic area. For example, citrus fruits — oranges and grapefruit — are only local in areas that have a very mild climate. On the other hand, rhubarb requires a time of dormancy (cold weather) to grow well. Boysenberries are native to the Northwest. Saskatoons are native to the Canadian prairies.
In our experience, recipes are living things that change with the season and with the preparer. And while there are few completely original recipes, contributors were encouraged to submit recipes that were shaped by their own lives. When a recipe is lived with it often develops a unique twist.
Simply in Season focuses on the principles behind local, seasonal eating, but we didn't strive for absolute purity. The recipes may highlight foods of one season, but we don't hesitate to include ingredients that are available in all seasons (canned tomatoes, potatoes, chicken, etc.). It's also fine to include non-local ingredients like dried beans, tofu, dried pasta, flours, and sugar. We wanted the cookbook to be down-to-earth and useful to everyone — and that includes city dwellers, those unable to garden and those without big freezers.
In grocery stores, foods with the "USDA Organic" label have been raised
following the U.S. National Organic Program requirements on farms annually
inspected by an independent, third-party certifier. These certified farms
At present, Canadian farms receive organic certification from regional
bodies-each with its own set of standards-under the Canadian Organic
Certification Co-operative and, in Quebec, the Conseil de Accreditation.
If you want to know what's in your food-and how it was produced-the best option is getting to know, and asking, your farmer.
Some foods that cannot be grown in North America are available through fair
trade organizations. Look for the "Fair Trade Certified" label on packages
of coffee, tea, chocolate, and bananas, signifying certification by the
Other companies are not certified but work to benefit small farmer co-ops or document specific beneficial practices, such as "bird-friendly" coffee.
Fairly traded rice and mangoes are already available in Europe; sugar,
cashews, Brazil nuts, and olive oil have reached Ten Thousand Villages
stores in Canada; and more fair trade fresh fruits, oils, spices, and wines
Scores of communities now offer CSAs: Community Supported-or
Shared-Agriculture, also called subscription farming. In Japan, such an
arrangement is called teikei, sometimes translated as "food with a farmer's
In a CSA, subscribers pay the farmer for a share of the season's produce. Each week they receive whatever is ripe. If there's a bumper crop of broccoli, everyone gets extra, but if a late storm destroys the strawberries, well, everyone enjoys plain rhubarb pie. The point is that the farmer doesn't bear the financial risk alone; a bad year doesn't mean losing the farm.
Most CSAs offer organic produce. Some provide meat, eggs, dairy products,
honey, or flowers. Subscribers usually pick up their food at a central
location or the farm itself. Many CSAs encourage people to visit the farm
© 2011 Mennonite Central Committee